Volleyball helps to rebuild shattered East Timor
A picture tells a thousand words and nothing
tells the story of FIVB's cooperation with UNHCR quite as
poiqnantly as these images of returnee children playing Volleyball
in traumatized East Timor.
In 2002, the FIVB supported the United Nations High Commission for
Refugees on a program where donations of Volleyball balls and nets
were distributed to returnees in East Timor and refugee camps from
troubled Afghanistan in Pakistan.
The program has enjoyed great success and United Nations Secretary
General Kofi Annan has publicly acknowledged sport as a potent
healer in conflict situations by the appointment of former Swiss
Federal President Mr. Adolf Ogi, as his Special Advisor on Sport
for Development and Peace.
East Timor is a country still struggling to recover from the
effects of the war in 1999. UNHCR reported the country's
infrastructure is in ruins and with up to 90 per cent unemployment,
one can see children aliented and frustrated and easily swayed by
the attraction of petty street crimes.
The Volleyball program helps to create team spirit, fosters
re-building friendships and tolerance across the boundaries of
villages and districts, and in doing so helps to sustain community
FIVB's donation went to remote sub districts of Oecusse near
the West Timor border, in the five sub districts of Maliana,
Lourba, Balibo, Marco and Atabe Los, going to
schools in towns and remote hill stations and to Covalima, Ainaro
and Manufahi in the Suai District. In the capital Dili, the
Dili Mobile Team, aided by the United Nations Police, the East
Timor Police Service, District Education Departments and church
groups pooled resources to distribute the equipment to schools,
youth groups, villages, orphanages and churches.